BY LEKE ADEGBITE
The Organized Labour in ondo state have given the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s administration eight days ultimatum to settle workers’ accumulated salaries and deductions or face industrial action.
It was gathered that the state government is owing workers October salaries and six months deductions which have crippled various cooperative societies in the state public service and the state tertiaryinstitutions.
The organised Labour that includes the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), called on government to urgently convene a meeting with the Labour leaders on or before friday November 27, to discuss how to defray the outstanding salaries and allowances.
The labour’s position is contained in a letter addressed to the governor and signed by the state Chairmen and Secretaries of NLC, TUC and JNC, Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole, Helen Odofin, Niyi Fabunmi; Omokehinde Shado, Tajudeen Balogun and Kehinde Olomiye.
The Labour unions said the state government had failed to honour various previous agreements reached with the state government over their demands on salaries and deductions payment.
“A CLARION CALL ON ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT TO DEFINE AND WORK OUT AN ENCOMPASSING MODE OF SALARY PAYMENT TO WORKERS IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE. Mr. Governor, no doubt, you have received from us quite a number of official communications conveying prayers bothering on welfare and wellbeing of our members. We will be unfair to pretend that your administration has not done enough within available resources in the last three years, nine months of your ascension to the Executive seat of governing the Sunshine State.
“However, situation prevalent as this time requires re-thinking, re-jigging and re-working the current mode of salary payment to a model that will satiate all interests. Your Excellency, Organised Labour in the State met with you and some top functionaries of your government in July, 2020 sensing trouble on salary payment.
“At the meeting Mr. Governor, we sacrificed the July 2020 salary in lieu of deductions which at the time had accumulated to five (5) months. You directed that whenever July 2020 allocation is leased, it should be for 5 months deductions i.e. February 2020 June 2020 and 2018 Leave Bonus for GL.07-17 across the five (5) services in the State to our chagrin, your lieutenants played the fast one on us by reneging on the agreement of 5 months to paying 3 months deductions leaving 2 months deductions out.
“As it stands today sir, deductions which statutorily is part of salaries stands at 5 months as at September, 2020 salary payment. This has left us with a nagging question of what percentage of salaries are we actually collecting as our members contribute varying sums to their respective Cooperative Societies. It has turn all our members to beggars In the soaety.
“In the same vein sir, you did promise to defray part of our outstandmg demands once the State receives Its expectations from Abuja. We heard on good authority that the State had been credited with the expectation on Tax Relief and nothmg was considered to us or at least to settie the 2019 leave bonus If at all, It could not defray a month salary.
“Mention must also be made of the N7.8bn Road Construction refund whnch reliably we are aware your administration had spent without recourse again to our constituency and not even any of our demands.
“Our Dear Arakunrin, we have bored enough and it Is time to give clarity to issues and chart a way forward from all of these logjams. Therefore, we pray as follows:
“(I) That, govemment should come up with an agreeable template with labour on payment of monthly salary. (ii) That, the said template must take care of the settlement of salaries arrears (deductions) from May 2020 – September, 2020, Pension arrears, outstanding subvention to state owned tertiary Institutions.
“(iii) That, going forward, gross salary MUST take effect as we say NO to the current mode of payment of salary i.e. Net payment. (iv) That, the model adopted by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in salaries payment whenever there is shortfall in Federal allocation to Local Government and SUBEB be adopted by the State Government since borrowing to augment salaries has become an uphill task.
“(v) That, a regular State Account Allocation meeting be scheduled to discuss and sort out issues relating to salaries payment. Labour must be represented at the meeting.
“(vi) That, the obnoxious circular released by the office of the Accountant General barring our members from either exiting or reducing their c00perative savings be withdrawn forthwith. It is our personal emolument, Sir.
“That, constant information flow between labour and government should be maintained as this will further strengthen and cement the relationship.
“That, we are by this letter giving government up till Friday 27th November, 2020 to convene a meeting where these prayers will be looked into with Labour. As we await further action necessary for the guarantee of industrial peace in our dear Sunshine State, we reiterate the fact that ‘there is limit to human endurance’, our dear Arakunrin.”